London Scottish went into their televised derby game with Richmond RFC on the back of two recent wins following a dominant performance at home to Cornish Pirates and a last-gasp win over league strugglers Rotherham in Round 10, writes Joe Luca-Smith.

Richmond, who were the “away” team, struggled against the Pirates last week with Steve Hill, the Director of Rugby at Richmond conceding that “a combination of poor skill execution and indiscipline” is what prevented them applying pressure, so they were looking to start quickly against their rivals.

In front of a new record crowd for the season of 1,849, the pitch had already seen a fair amount of action between Richmond Ladies and Wasps Ladies, so it was no surprise that the game started off slowly.

Scottish dominated the first quarter of the game; going through the phases, they probed the Richmond defence across the pitch.

This pressure eventually told, when Richmond were forced to give away a penalty after seven minutes. Sharp had no issue putting it between the posts, to get Scottish on the scoreboard.

Richmond enjoyed a spell of attacking rugby after 20 minutes. The Scottish defence held firm, and dragged the electric Martin Freeman into touch, 5m out. The ensuing Scottish line out was an over throw, and the ball landed in the gleefully in the hands of Grimstone, who fell over the try line. Kirby added the conversion and gave Richmond a 3-10 lead, very much against the run of play.

Scottish answered back quickly; just 4 minutes later, Scottish had worked their way down to the Richmond try line, a pick & go from Italian Derrick Appiah was never going to be stopped from 1m out. Sharp added the conversion to level the score, 10-10.

Richmond came back on the attack from the restart; Cunnew broke through the ruck, only to be halted by Fraser Lyle. With the overlap established, they moved the ball wide to Woodward who finished well, into the corner.

Kirby was unable to add the conversion, so Richmond took a 10-15 lead. Despite sustained pressure from Scottish in the remainder of the half, Richmond were still able to add three more points courtesy of Kirby, so ended the half in the lead. Richmond had been clinical in the opening 40 minutes, two attacks and two tries: London Scottish 10-18 Richmond.

The second half began with a bang. Before most of the crowd had returned to their seats, the ball was moved wide to Ross Neal, just inside the Scottish half, who stepped two defenders then blew past everyone to the try line. It was a fantastic piece of individual skill and athleticism.

From a tight angle on the touchline, Sharp didn’t add the conversion, so after just 42 minutes, Scottish had cut Richmond’s lead; LSFC 15-18 Richmond.

Scottish now had the wind in their sails, and applied pressure on the Richmond defence. Huge carries from Atkinson and Mosses through the middle of the park kept Richmond on the back foot.

This pressure told again, when Scottish worked the ball wide; from 5m out, Sharp kicked through a grubber and chased it down himself. After going to the TMO, the try was awarded. Sharp added the conversion, to give Scottish a well deserved 22-18 lead.

The next 10 minutes passed without a score; but both teams attacked hard. Huge hits were going in from Williams, Atkinson, Miller and Cringle to keep Richmond from making any progress. Twice Richmond made it to the try line, only to give away a penalty.

Pressure from Richmond forced Scottish to concede a penalty on the 62nd minute, which Kirby duly dispatched, to cut the Scottish lead to a single point; LSFC 22-21 Richmond.

It was beginning to look like the Scottish defence had won them this game, but on the 77th minute, Jono Woodward broke London Scottish hearts.

Scottish attacked down the wing deep inside the Richmond half, and an ambitious pass to their winger was read by Woodward, who pounced on the loose ball and ran 70m to the try line.

A desperate chase from Matt Williams almost brought him down short, but he kept his balance to score. Rob Kirby added the conversion, to seal the victory; London Scottish 22-28 Richmond.

London Scottish: Lyle; Williams; Neal; Mosses; Ingall; Sharp; Hoadley; Atkinson; C. Walker; Ed Milne; Mills (c); Uanivi; Cringle; Miller; Appiah // Replacements: George; Christie; McQuillin; Baillie; Kenny; Walker; Holland Tries: Appiah; Neal; Sharp Conversions: Sharp (x2) Penalty: Sharp

Richmond: Kirby; Freeman; Mitchell; McLean; Woodward; Swan; Jones; Cunnew; Grimstone; Trenier; Warden; Davies; Liston; Allcock; Parks // Replacements: Phipps; Goodrick-Clarke; Crawford; Gibbs; Gabbitass; Saysell; Tarrant Tries: Grimstone; Woodward (x2) Conversions: Kirby (x2) Penalties: Kirby (x3)

Referee: Karl Dickson Attendance: 1,849